Young and novice drivers: MPs on the Transport Committee need your views
30 September 2020
MPs have launched a survey to ask young drivers aged 17-25 for their views on potential measures to reduce road traffic collisions among their age group. The Committee wants to hear about their experiences as it assesses the Government’s overall performance on this issue.
Disproportionate number killed and injured
Drivers in this age group make up only seven per cent of total licence holders yet represented 16% of all car drivers killed and seriously injured in 2018, according to the Department for Transport.
The answers will build on opinions gathered from students in Devon, Essex, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire, who spoke to the Committee’s MPs last week in an engagement event, held online, to explore their views on potential measures suggested by policy experts.
Restrictions on alcohol
A transcript of the session, published today, shows that all but one of the 14 aspiring drivers are prepared to consider restrictions such as zero alcohol levels for newly qualified drivers but firmly reject suggestions such as a limit on carrying passengers. Nine out of 14 students supported zero alcohol levels for all drivers.
The Committee is now extending their questioning to young people aged 17-25 via Twitter. The survey will be live until 12 October and the results will be collated ahead of the final evidence session planned in October. The information will feed into the Committee’s final report.
Most of the students from Altrincham Grammar School (Greater Manchester), Barnsley College (Yorkshire), Harris Academy Chafford Hundred (Essex) and Queen Elizabeth’s School (Devon) who considered the ideas are learning to drive.
Introducing the session, the Chair of the Transport Committee, Huw Merriman MP, explained that the Committee had heard striking evidence from two road safety campaigners whose daughters had died in road collisions in the first evidence session. MPs also heard about examples of policy in practice in other countries from academics and road safety experts. At the next evidence session, the Committee will explore the issues of insurance for young and novice drivers and hear from motoring organisations.
Mr Merriman said: “We’re interested in the risks that young drivers face, the fact that they are more likely to be involved in collisions and also the cost to you with regard to insurance. Another aspect is the social mobility … if you haven’t got a car, or use of car, does that hold you back in terms of your ability to interact, to get work experience, to earn money and then how does that impact on your life chances? That’s a particular focus for us, not least because the bus service is not as it was when I was your age.”
He continued: “It’s vital for us when we finally make the recommendations that we don’t just listen to organisations - perhaps with people who have been driving for longer, giving their views on what should happen to you and your generation,” he said. “We actually want to hear from you, so that you can tell us if you want more restrictions on your driving, or fewer restrictions, or things to stay as they are.”
The engagement session and survey range across several policy recommendations from minimum learning periods to mandatory experience of driving in different scenarios such as rural/urban or motorway driving. The questions look beyond a successful driving test to recommendations for new drivers including graduated driving license schemes; zero alcohol limits and restrictions on carrying passengers. The MPs are also considering the cost of lessons and insurance and whether fitting black boxes or similar schemes would be acceptable to young drivers.
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